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Kamehameha Schools working with land tenants to convert cesspools and meet EPA deadlines

U.S. Environment Protection Agency

Four years ago, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that Kamehameha Schools had agreed to begin an audit of some 3,000 properties to determine which still had cesspools. The Conversation talked to Marissa Harman, director of asset management for Kamehameha Schools about where they are in the process. Its survey, which is almost complete, found about 100 large capacity cesspools that must be closed.

Hawaiʻi was the last state to ban the use of cesspools in new construction. Now the state has the monumental task of getting property owners to convert the wastewater systems to something more environmentally friendly.

State Rep. Gene Ward of Hawaii Kai also shared the latest on land parcels owned by KS in Kamilonui Valley. Those farm leases are up in less than three years. KS says it has not yet made a decision about the future of the valley and so has not begun talks with its leaseholders. Farmers and nursery owners are being told they must convert the cesspools even though their future in the valley is uncertain.

This interview aired on The Conversation on May 18, 2022. The Conversation airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on HPR-1.

Catherine Cruz is the host of The Conversation. Originally from Guam, she spent more than 30 years at KITV, covering beats from government to education. Contact her at ccruz@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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